I love leftover rice. It is so versatile and convenient. Everyone knows about making fried rice with leftover rice but there is a whole world of other things you can do! Here are two delicious ways to use leftover rice other than fried rice.
If you make these the Italian way, they are called arancini but you can make them take on almost any flavor. You can make these using Mexican flavors, Asian ingredients, Spanish, the possibilities are really endless. I made mine using what I had on hand but you can add and substitute as you like. We had ours with a quick meat sauce that I usually make for pasta. I will definitely make these a million more ways in the future.
- 2 heaping cups of leftover rice
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs
- 8 chunks of cheddar cheese (I used Australian cheddar but mozzarella would be delish, I bet Gruyere would be good too)
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs tossed with 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- oil for frying
- In a large pot, such as a Dutch oven, add about 3-4 inches of oil. Heat it over medium heat while you prep the rice balls.
- In a bowl, combine the rice, 1 egg, basil, salt, pepper, garlic, and Parmesan. Mix thoroughly with your hands until the mixture is blended well.
- To make the rice balls, take a palmful of the mixture and form it into a firm ball. Place a chunk of cheese in the center and form the ball around it, making sure the cheese is covered by the rice. Make sure the ball is nice and compact so it doesn’t fall apart when you’re frying. You will get about 8 rice balls.
- Beat the other egg in a bowl. Put the breadcrumbs in another bowl. Dip the rice balls in the egg then into the breadcrumbs. When the oil reaches 375 degrees, you’re ready to start frying.
- Fry 3-4 at a time. It won’t take very long since the rice is already cooked. When they turn golden brown and the cheese inside is melted, they’re good to go.
- Serve immediately with sauce.
Normally, I enjoy rice pudding the old-fashioned way. But when I have leftover rice, I make it this way.
- 1 1/2 cups of leftover rice
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- raisins and chopped nuts (optional)
- 1 Tbsp butter
- In a small bowl, whisk sugar, milk, cream, and egg together.
- Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. When you see bubbles start to form, lower the heat to low. You don’t want it to come to a full boil.
- When there are bubbles all around the edge of the pot and mixture has thickened, add rice. Bring the heat back to medium-low. Add vanilla, cinnamon, and syrup and raisins if you’re using them (we don’t). Using a wooden spoon, stir well to combine.
- When the mixture reaches your desired thickness, turn off the heat and stir in the butter and top with nuts if you’re using them. Serve warm or cold.
These are two versatile dishes using a very versatile ingredient. How do you use leftover rice?
It’s been a while because I have been so busy at work and with my kids and trying to get my business started (more to come on that soon). This will be a quick post, just a simple, run-of-the-mill homemade vapor rub for when congestion strikes, as it inevitably will in our house.
Store-bought rub is usually based on petrolatum…not a big fan of that. You can use beeswax or any wax of your choice for this recipe.
- 3/4 cup of any liquid oil (olive, almond, jojoba if you’re fancy, coconut oil is good too, I would not use castor oil because it’s kind of thick for my taste but maybe you like that)
- 1-2 tablespoons of shea butter (any butter you like is good)
- 3 tablespoons of wax pellets
- 40-50 drops of eucalyptus essential oil (less if it’s for a baby, more if you like it extra tingly)
- 15 drops lavender essential oil
Melt the wax, butter, and oil over a double boiler just until the wax is melted. Stir well. Pour into your container. Allow to cool and harden.
Colloidal oatmeal is great stuff. It’s good for itching, eczema, and almost all dry skin problems. It’s in lots of commercial lotions, like Aveeno [fun fact: the botanical name for oats is Avena sativa so it seems that's where they got that name]. I’ve mentioned many times that my eldest daughter has eczema, although it has become quite mild. She does still have somewhat sensitive skin, though, and her skin is naturally extremely dry. Lotions and creams that work on the rest of the family often don’t work on her. I wanted to make some colloidal oatmeal to use in my formulations because of her dry skin but also because my husband has been having some trouble with itchy (although not dry) skin.
Colloidal oatmeal is easy to make if you’re not making a whole bunch of it. I usually make just enough for whatever recipe I’m about to put together since it only keeps for about a week in the fridge. All you need is steel-cut oats (because they are usually the least processed), distilled water, a coffee grinder, and cheesecloth. And of course, a stove and a container.
- 1-2 tablespoons of steel-cut oats
- 1 cup boiling distilled water
- Put your oats into a coffee grinder. Grind until you have a fine powder. Place it in heat resistant container (I use a Pyrex measuring cup). Add the boiling water. Whisk until combined.
- Once combined, let it sit for 5-10 minutes then whisk again.
- Strain the mixture through cheesecloth into your storage container (I use a Mason jar. Big surprise there, i know) Use right away or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Top left: oat flour made in coffee grinder
Bottom left: oat flour steeped in hot water
Top right: cheesecloth setup
Bottom right: after the mixture has been strained
In lotions and creams, this would be part of the water phase. Also the paste that you get in the cheesecloth is an awesome itch salve. Apply it to itchy areas and let sit then wipe off with cool cloth or mix it in with a balm and apply before showering. Safe for use on poison ivy, bug bites, rashes, whatever itches!
Here’s how the MAC cosmetics website describes Fix+: “An aqua-spritz of vitamin and minerals, infused with a calm-the-skin blend of green tea, chamomile, cucumber, topped off with the fresh, natural, energizing scent of Sugi. Adds radiance, finishes makeup. Spray it on. Skin drinks it up!” It costs $21.00 for 3.4 fluid ounces [Side note: I used to work for MAC and I'm pretty sure the price has increased substantially since I stopped working there. I was shocked at this price.] Truthfully, I love this product. It was probably the last remaining non-natural element of my skin routine until recently when I finally came up with a recipe.
This is the ingredient list for MAC’s Fix+: Water, glycerin, butylene glycol, cucumber fruit extract, chamomilla, camellia leaf extract, tocophryl acetate, caffeine, panthenol, hydrogenated castor oil, fragrance.
Not too bad, actually. I’m not completely offended and repulsed. So that’s good. But my all-natural alternative is pretty awesome for only a fraction of the price and smells great. And there’s no butylene glycol
This recipe is enough to fill an old Fix+ bottle, so it makes about 3 fluid ounces. I love the way that bottle spritzes. I can’t find a bottle that compares. You can use any bottle that spritzes. You don’t want it to spray though because you want an even mist all over your face. Be sure to spritz from at least half an arm’s length.
Ingredients [these were all things I already had because I make products already. But if you don't or you're just starting, these ingredients come in handy for lots of other products I make.]
- distilled water
- 1 green tea bag
- vegetable glycerin
- cucumber hydrosol [optional, some people don't like the smell]
- chamomile hydrosol
- vitamin E oil
- Brew the green tea with 1/4 cup of hot distilled water and one tea bag. Let it steep for at least 10 minutes and allow it to cool. You only need about a tablespoon for this recipe but I use this concentrated green tea for other things and it can be stored in the refrigerator for your next Fix+ batch too.
- In your bottle, add about 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerine, 1-2 tablespoon of cooled green tea, 1 teaspoon of cucumber hydrosol if you’re including it, 1 tablespoon of chamomile hydrosol, 10 drops of vitamin E oil, 2 tablespoons of rosewater. Then fill almost to the top with distilled water. Shake it up to mix. Apply after moisturizer and/or after makeup.
I know I’m not the only person whose skin gets crazy dry once the weather starts to change. My daughters’ skin starts to get very dry too, especially my eldest who has mild eczema. Of course, I had to order some shea butter, which is the best butter for dry skin, in my opinion. I was also going to order some fractionated coconut oil but changed my mind because I wanted to try something new. I ordered kukui nut oil instead. Here’s a quick rundown on this exotic, but pretty cheap, oil:
- a light oil, not dense, clear to light yellow in color
- penetrates the skin well, so great to pair with a dense butter or oil that does not penetrate well (like cocoa butter, coconut oil, castor oil)
- leaves minimal oily feeling on the skin
- been used in Hawaii for many years, mostly as a massage oil. The kukui nut tree is Hawaii’s state tree.
- should not be exposed to high heat
If you recall from a post I did about picking the right oils for your lotion (click here to read it!), shea butter has medium skin penetration but a heavy oily feeling. Since shea butter is my go-to winter fat, I wanted to combine it with something with similar penetration and oily feeling to jojoba oil but without the high price. So I decided to give kukui nut oil a shot. I’m glad I did! It’s good stuff. Of course, you can find it at Mountain Rose Herbs.
Look at this yummy cream
It’s so luscious! And moisturizing! And I love the light citrus scent. It might be the best cream or lotion I’ve ever made. [If you're not sure about what the differences between cream and lotion are, click here.] It will be perfect for fall and if necessary, I can make a few adjustments if our winter is especially cold and dry. Enough chat, here’s the recipe.
- 150 grams distilled water
- 100 grams aloe vera liquid (not juice or gel) or your favorite hydrosol
- 20 grams raw honey (acts as a humectant which draws moisture to the skin)
- 250 grams distilled water
- 20 grams raw honey
- 50 grams kukui nut oil
- 22 grams castor oil
- 8 grams vitamin E oil
- 100 grams shea butter
- 50 grams emulsifying wax
Cool Down Phase
- 5 grams Optiphen
- 40-60 drops rosehip seed oil
- 50-80 drops grapefruit essential oil (for fragrance)
To put this lovely cream together,
- You need at least 2 weighing containers, Mason jars are my favorite. In one container, weigh your water phase ingredients, make a note of the final weight, and heat the container in the microwave for a minute. The liquid should be very warm, but not too hot to handle. When it comes out of the microwave, weigh it again. If some of the water was lost to evaporation, add distilled water very carefully until it’s the same weight as it was before it was microwaved.
- In the other container, put all your oil phase ingredients except the kukui nut oil. Microwave in 30 second increments until the shea butter is just melted. DO NOT OVERHEAT. If any smoke forms, you will have to discard and start over. Once it’s all melted, add the kukui nut oil.
- In your mixing container, add the oil phase from your weighing container. Pour the water phase ingredients into the oil weighing container. Then pour the water phase into the mixing container. This prevents you from wasting any of your oil phase.
- With a long, metal spoon, stir for about 30 seconds. Using your stick blender, blend for 15-20 seconds. Keep the blender immersed so bubbles don’t form. Add the cool down phase and blend for 5 seconds.
- Pour into your storage containers. I use old Talenti gelato and sorbet containers, thoroughly washed and sanitized with alcohol.
I needed 2 containers for this recipe but I don’t fill them to the top. If you make this, please don’t be alarmed by the initial consistency, which is very much a liquid. As it cools, it thickens up very nicely and becomes very creamy and light.
Happy lotion making!
I do make soap for my family. I will not get into as much detail about soap making as I do about making lotion but I am happy to share my favorite original soap recipes. If you’re a newbie soap maker, this is a good recipe for you because it comes to trace quickly and easily, the ingredients are pretty easy to access, and it is not very complex.
Some goods things about this soap:
- it is not drying.
- it is easy to make, i.e. trace comes quickly
- it does not have any exotic ingredients.
- it is easy to cut.
- It sets up within 12 hours.
- pH is safe for use within 2 days
Some disadvantages to this soap:
- It does not have a fluffy, plentiful lather. But that’s why it isn’t drying so this is a bit of a double edged sword. The lather is medium on this soap.
- I would like this soap a little harder without sacrificing the moisturizing qualities. It takes about 10 or 11 days for the four of us to go through a bar. I would like to extend that to 2 weeks, which I think I can do in future batches. If I do, I will update this post.
So yeah, this is my go-to soap recipe. I experiment with other recipes and I invent my own recipes for specific things, but as far as an all-purpose soap goes, I haven’t found one that beats this. Okay, enough yapping. Here’s the recipe:
- 400 grams coconut oil
- 100 grams shea butter
- 160 grams apricot kernel oil
- 115 grams sodium hydroxide (lye)
- 248 grams distilled water
If you’re not sure what the hell to do with these ingredients, allow me to redirect you here for starters. I strongly suggest you read a book about the topic or take a class before even purchasing soapmaking ingredients. Next time I do a soap post, I will post some photos or maybe a pictorial.
Let me say that sodium hydroxide, otherwise known as lye, is a very caustic and possibly dangerous substance. So again, let me stress that if you have never made soap, please do not attempt this recipe without educating yourself first. This post is a reference for people who know how to make soap already or have at least read about it. I’m not saying that making soap will kill you; it’s about as dangerous as frying chicken. But without the necessary skills, frying chicken can be quite hazardous! Okay, good. Glad we got that out of the way.
Please feel free to email me with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below!
I bought it at my favorite grocery store, Fairway Market!
I am obsessed with balsamic vinegar reductions. If you have never tried one, you really need to because it is so yummy. It’s like fancy, grown-up ketchup…except that my weird kids like it too. [I swear, give them grilled cheese and they hate it. Give them French onion soup or salmon with asparagus and they're all over it. ] If you have a meal that needs a little sweetness and acidity, balsamic reduction is everything. I will literally drizzle it onto every plate but you might not be that into it. It’s really not for everyone. Try it to see if it’s for you!
- For the most basic reduction, all you need is a cup of balsamic vinegar. Pour it into a saucepan, turn the heat to medium-high and let it go! Watch it very carefully so it doesn’t burn and stir it frequently. When it becomes the consistency of a thin syrup, the sweet nectar of the gods, it’s done! It doesn’t take long at all, less than 8-10 minutes. Serve it over chicken, salmon, pork, beef, whatever! One tablespoon adds about 12 calories to your meal.
- If you want to get fancy, add some herbs and turn the heat down a little. It will take a little longer, but only a few minutes. Rosemary is particularly good with a reduction for chicken or pork. Thyme is also a great choice.
- If you’re looking for a little more richness, add a tablespoon of butter and whisk well. This will obviously add more calories but it adds a nice velvety texture.
- For a little something sweet, add diced strawberries and sugar. Try it with fruit salad and angel food cake for a light tasty dessert.
So now that you know how to make balsamic reductions, what are you going to do? It’s extremely versatile; these suggestions are only the tip of the iceberg. The possibilities are endless, really.
Also, “Have You Tried…” will be recurring. It will be about food and ingredients for homemade products mostly. Let me know what you’d like to see!